Sun & Sea: A Tulum Guide

As we are almost through the winter season, you are probably dreaming about your next warm weather spring/summer get away.  Now is the perfect time to start planning your tropical adventure for this upcoming off-season!

If you love something that is beachy/boho/relaxed/chic, look no further than Tulum. With its incredible white sand beaches and turquoise water, variety of amazing restaurants and cuisine, fun nightlife and bars, beautiful yet low key hotels, gorgeous spas, unique shopping and incredible art, then this is your place!

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Logistics / Getting there

The easiest way to get to Tulum is to fly to Cancun, a major hub where you can fly direct from almost anywhere. Once you land in Cancun, your Diamante travel adviser can help you coordinate transportation to your selected accommodation. It will take approximately 1.5 hours to get to downtown Tulum from the Cancun International Airport. Also, Tulum is a primarily cash economy and there are very few USD ATM outlets there, so make sure to take out cash before you travel.

Accommodations

Tulum is one giant strip of so many incredible hotels along the beach with a variety to choose from. If you are looking for a fun relaxed by day and party by night Papaya Playa Project is the place to be, especially on the weekends with amazing DJ’s and beach dance parties. If you are feeling more of a low key romantic beach vacation the Nomade hotel is a truly special getaway, with a beautiful chic beach set up, cool crowd, bohemian décor and amazing food breakfast, lunch, dinner (all of which can be eaten gazing on the beach).  Next door is another amazing hotel Be Tulum which has an incredible spa and known for their amazing signature massages. If you are looking for an amazing yoga/spa vacation look no further than the newly renovated Sanara hotel with their beautiful minimal chic décor, incredible yoga studio overlooking the ocean and absolutely delicious organic café next door called the Real Coconut, for all things gluten free, raw, and collagen infused lattes.

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Restaurants

Aside from the amazing white beaches one of the very best parts about Tulum is the incredible variety of delicious restaurants. Even though you might be instantly craving Mexican food, one of our favorite place was an adorable Italian restaurant called Posada Margherita where you walk through what feels like the entrance to a greenhouse and leads you to the most charming beachside creative vibe, with an incredible selection of wine and homemade pastas. For an absolutely magical dining experience, be sure not to miss the restaurant at Azulik hotel, with the most incredible rooftop table overlooking the jungle, perfect for a group setting or special occasion. We preferred to eat on the beach most evenings, but for the best international restaurants on the jungle side, be sure to check out MUR MUR, with a cool crowd, amazing cocktails and fabulous food cooked on a wood fired oven. Another must is Hartwood, incredible food in a relaxed and trendy outdoor setting, also with an open kitchen featuring the fresh caught specials and amazing grilled organic seasonal vegetables. For fun mezcal cocktails and dinner on the jungle side, or an after dinner night cap, be sure to check out Gitano for its festive flair.

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Experiences

All of the hotels offer incredible yoga on the beach, and if you’re looking for even more of a workout, be sure to try a bikini-boot-camp to balance out all of the delicious meals you’ll be eating and drinking in Tulum. No matter what, be sure to catch at least one sunrise on the beach, coffee in hand, and take in the beauty of this truly special place. All of the hotels offer bike rentals for the time that you are there, and we couldn’t get enough of riding our bikes along the strip and restaurant hopping and shopping along the way. If you are wanting to mix it up and take a break from the beach, be sure to go swim in a Cenote. It’s a truly special experience and unique to the area. Tulum is also known for its incredible ruins, either the Tulum ruins if you want to stay local, or if you’re up for a bit of an adventure make a day trip to Chichen-Itza, where the Mayans believe the Universe started!

Tulum is a truly sacred, special, beautiful, cultural hub in Mexico where no matter what kind of experience you are seeking, it will be sure to find you there.

An Unexpected Caribbean Getaway: Curacao

With winter upon us, you may be thinking longingly of the far-off warmth of spring and summer. If so, now is time to start planning a deep-winter tropical getaway.!

If you are looking for something new and off the beaten path, we have the perfect locale for just that: Curacao!

Curacao is a Dutch colonial island located between Aruba and Bonaire in the Southern Caribbean.  Willemstad, the colorful capital, is famous for its bright buildings that line the waterfront. The island’s pristine diving, gorgeous white sand beaches, and stunning nature are all attractions to the small number of tourists that pass through each winter.

Keep reading to learn about the best places to stay, food to eat, and things to do!

Willemstad, Curacao

Willemstad, Curacao

Accommodations: If you want to enjoy the culture and metropolitan vibes of the capital city Willemstad and be in the heart of it all, we recommend staying at BijBlauw Hotel. BijBlauw is situated beachfront in trendy Pietermaai, the historic cultural heart of Willemstad.  Walk to hip bars and restaurants, shop at well curated boutiques and check out some of the historic attractions nearby.  

If you are looking for a more relaxed destination, head to Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort.  Situated on 2,000 acres just south of Willemstad, Santa Barbara is a destination in itself.  Relax on their private white sand beach or poolside. Indulge in recreation on the golf course, tennis courts or biking and hiking trails.  Santa Barbara is also a water-sports heaven with diving, fishing and other activities available.

Restaurants:  The food is Curacao does not disappoint! Our favorite spots in Willemstad are The Gouverneur and Fort Nassau.  The Gouverneur is a stunning spot located right along the water. The food is phenomenal. We highly recommend getting the Cuban Banana soup; it is out of this world! Fort Nassau is an old fort transformed into a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the famous bridge and the city. We suggest getting the steak or lamb chops. In Westpunt, Sol Food is a big hit. This tiny restaurant, with only 8 tables so you need a reservation in advance, is situated on the patio off of the owner’s home. It is only opened on the weekends and serves up delicious pizza and other grub. The highlight though is the scrumptious peanut butter brownie dessert. Jaanchies is another hot local spot in Westpunt. There are no printed menus, rather, Jaanchie himself comes up and tells you what they are serving today and takes your order.  It is mainly fish and meat stews along with some sides. He will offer you a taste of the Iguana stew and you should try it. Travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zones, isn’t it?

Beaches:  Our absolute favorite beach is Playa Knip, in Westpunt. Although it takes about an hour to get here from Willemstad area, it is totally worth it to view the crystal clear water, beautiful reef, and white sand. It is hard to contain oneself from running straight in the water!

Another great beach in the Westpunt area is a Daaibooi because it is quiet and peaceful, with no loud music or kids running around.  Mambo is the most popular beach in Curacao, complete with beach bars, shopping, and events.  Tip - Sit near Lions Dive Resort for a more peaceful part of the beach. Jan Thiel is our favorite beach located in a central part of the island. Every Saturday night they have a party with music. Entrance is free, but you will most likely spend some money at the bar.  Dancing the night away on the sand is a perfect Curacao experience.

Activities:  Curacao is known for its pristine scuba diving spots.  We recommend diving at Playa Grandi (also a wonderful place to snorkel) where you are almost guaranteed to see a few turtles!

Other nice spots to dive are Alice in Wonderland at Playa Kalki and at Playa Porto Marie, all in Westpunt. For snorkeling, Tug Boat is a fun spot to check out a shipwreck up close. Speaking of shipwrecks, there is a massive ship at Jan Thiel beach you can snorkel/dive. We also recommend kayaking to the Blue Cave in Westpunt, where you can snorkel. Another unique activity in Westpunt is to see Watamula. This is an impressive, large, eroded hole above the ocean that the waves will crash through. Just don’t fall in! Klein Curacao, the tiny, uninhabited island located about 26 miles from the main island, is a day trip not to be missed. This little island boasts stunningly crystal clear water, an abandoned lighthouse, and a shipwreck to be explored.  However, be warned that the journey to Klein is often very rough so if you get seasick, be prepared with medicine, or perhaps forgo this option.

Curacao is truly a hidden gem in the Caribbean. If you are seeking sunshine, adventure, and delicious food, this is the place for you.

Skiing in Hokkaido, Japan

Are you looking to combine skiing and international travel?

Check out this article from “Snow” Magazine, written by Diamante, featuring Hokkaido, Japan to see how you can combine the best of skiing with an international getaway.

“While Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun, it should be known as Land of the Deepest Snow.  Hokkaido, the northernmost island of the Japanese Archipelago, has long been known by deep powder aficionados as the global record holder for snowfall. When cold Siberian air from the Asian Continent mixes with the moisture of the Pacific, it creates epic snowfall, leading to amazing skiing opportunities.  Combine these world class skiing conditions with a growing ski infrastructure, unique cultural experiences and Japanese hospitality and you have …read the full article.”


Diamante's 6 Favorite Ski-In-Ski-Out Hotels of the West

Ski vacations are awesome, especially when you do not have to drag your ski’s or snowboard in and out of cars, up stairs and around town. That is what makes ski-in-ski-out hotels so convenient and desirable. Here are the best ski-in-ski-out hotels at some of our favorite ski areas in the American West.

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The Little Nell

ASPEN, CO

Aspen is the quintessential luxury ski destination in North America and the Little Nell sits at the base of the area in the thick of the action.  Rub shoulders with celebrities over a hot chocolate in the plush living room or a glass of champagne during aprés ski at the Chair 9 bar. Make a reservation at the Element 49 restaurant to enjoy some of the finest dining in Aspen.  Bonus tip: Arrange a private wine tasting in the cellar with the Nell’s Sommelier team

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Four Seasons

TETON VILLAGE, WY

Teton Village is the capital for skiing in Wyoming and the Four Seasons is the crown jewel of the Village.  Located within a stones throw of two lifts, the gondola and the tram, the skiing access from the bar patio doesn't get much better.  Speaking of the bar patio, it is the number one place to grab an aprés drink and enjoy the spectacular people watching. Don’t forget to take a day to enjoy a Wyoming wildlife safari in neighboring Teton National Park.

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The Ritz Bachelor Gulch

BEAVER CREEK, CO

Beaver Creek is an enclave of luxury skiing and high quality accommodations, but the Ritz at Bachelor Gulch is so exclusive it has its own enclave within the enclave.  Enjoy skiing up to the fire pits that are stocked with s’more fixings after a long day on the hill or grab a couch and a cocktail lounge inside the spacious and elegant Great Room.  With three restaurants, two bars and a lounge on site there will be no need to leave for the duration of your stay, besides to get some fresh turns!

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Stein Eriksen Lodge

DEER VALLEY, UT

The classic European styled Stein Eriksen Lodge sits front and center at the base village of the skier only Deer Valley Resort.  Known as the first luxury ski-in-ski-out hotel in the country, the Stein Eriksen does not disappoint when it comes to world class service and amenities.  After a long day on the hill, stop by Utah’s only Forbes Five Star rated Spa and enjoy a massage. You deserve it!

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The Hotel Madeline

TELLURIDE, CO

The Madeline, recently acquired by Auberge Resorts, represents the finest ski-in-ski-out accommodations in the rugged San Juan Mountains of Colorado.  Enjoy front door access to the shops and restaurants of Mountain Village and a short walk to the gondola that connects to the adorable historic mining town itself.  Be sure to stop by Alred’s for a cocktail on your way to town at the midway point of the gondola for some of the best views in Colorado.

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The Caledonian

PARK CITY, UT

Ski-in-ski-out and located on historic main street?  Is that possible? Only in Park City. While Caledonian is not technically a hotel, it is a residence club that offers short term accommodations for non-owners and thank god for that.  With condos that have private hot tubs located on decks overlooking the mountain, front door access to the Town Lift and walking distance to all that downtown has to offer, this Park City property is hard to beat.  

What is better for your next trip; a hotel or a villa?

You’ve chosen the destination, but now it’s time for you to decide on your accommodation. Choosing a memorable hotel or villa can be a time consuming process with so many different options available to you. How do you choose between a hotel or a villa? In this blog we share our secrets to navigate this travel dilemma.

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HOTELS

Type of Traveler: A luxury hotel is a retreat away from home and yet also functions as a home base in a distant destination.  Hotels are perfect for the solo traveler that is looking to explore the area they are visiting and who doesn’t plan on spending all their time in the room. We also recommend hotels to couples looking for a romantic getaway or ‘stay-cation’ to keep that spark alive. Lastly, our team recommends hotels to smaller, active families that don’t mind sharing a room or reserving connecting rooms.

Location: Hotels as they are usually centrally located in cities making them perfect for travelers who like to explore and enjoy the convenience of accessibility. Simply walk out the front door to find anything from a chic cafe, fine dining or a hip cocktail bar.

Amenities: Let’s face it...the reason we love staying in hotels is because of the access we have to their numerous amenities...valet parking, concierge, laundry, housekeeping, swimming pool, shuttle services, free WiFi, and maybe even a complimentary hot breakfast. You get the point.

Reward Memberships: Points add up and if you are one who is a frequent customer at a hotel chain it is often worthwhile to plan your stays there for the added bonus of collecting points.

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VILLAS

Type of Traveler: Villas work great for a variety of travelers and situations that a hotel may not be able to accommodate.  Large families are always a good fit in Villas no matter the occasion and the same goes for a large group of friends or colleagues who want to have their own space and privacy away from a busy hotel.  Special occasions such as wellness or corporate retreats are also ideal in villas as the privacy allows for focus on the purpose of the retreat. Villas are also great private escapes for anyone who wants to disconnect or have a longer stay away from home.

Location: Villas can be found in a variety of destinations and often offer more privacy and uniques in location than many hotels.  Some of our favorite villas treat clients to the best views real estate has to offer, but you have to know where to find them.

Amenities: The villas that we book for our client’s will always have the option of providing the same amenities a hotel can. While you may have to pay extra for the services, the bonus is that you get to enjoy them exclusively in the comfort of your vacation home.

At the end of the day, hotels and villas are both great accommodation options, but it does comes down to a few deciding factors to help you choose between the two. It’s key to know the number of people traveling, the destination, and the occasion. Contact us and we would love to help you decide which option will be best for your next getaway.